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FG denies media reports about N60bn budget for farmers’ mobile phones

By on January 5, 2013

The Federal Government yesterday refuted the recent media report that it is investing N60bn in the purchase of mobile phones for rural farmers.

This denial was forwarded by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adeshina, who disclosed that even though the FG has plans for the rural farmers, the media got the facts all wrong.

He confirmed the Federal Governments plans to distribute 10 million mobile phones but refused to state the exact cost intended for the phones.

He confirmed reports that the mobile phones will enable easy access of farmers to the FG and vice versa.

In his words, “My attention has been drawn to the issue of N60bn to be spent on phones for farmers as reported on some media sites and papers.

“The information is absolutely incorrect. My permanent secretary was totally misquoted out of context. There is no N60bn for phones anywhere.”

He said the provision of mobile phones to farmers was in fulfilment of President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda in the agricultural sector.

Adding, the Minister said they have mapped out ways of providing better access to roads, improving loans and savings scheme of rural farmers.

He said, “Nigeria has 110 million cell phones, the largest in Africa. However, there is a huge divide: the bulk of the phones are in the urban areas.

“The rural areas are heavily excluded. For agriculture, which employs 70 per cent of the population that means the farmers are excluded and marginalised.

“In today’s world, the most powerful tool is a mobile phone. As the Minister of Agriculture, I want the entire rural space of Nigeria and farmers to be included, not excluded, from advantages of the mobile phone revolution.”

Explaining, Adeshina said, the idea of providing mobile phones would be realised through an MOU signed by the Women affairs, Finance, Communications, and Agricultural ministries.

One Comment

  1. Justice Abia

    January 6, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Thank God for ministers like you Sir. at least the farmers can now call Mr President or the Minister of Agriculture to know when their supply of seedlings and other Agro inputs will arrive their farms.